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Atwood TIF Grant Assists Harris Companies with Construction & Remodeling

Sandy Harris Fiala, left, accepts a “large” TIF award check in the amount of $30,000 from Atwood Village President Bill Fleming at the Atwood Board meeting on October 10.

By Doris Elmore
Staff Writer

Atwood Village President Bill Fleming presented Sandy Fiala, secretary of Harris Companies, with a check for a $30,000 TIF grant at the regular meeting of the board on Monday, October 10. This TIF grant money was for the new construction and remodeling project at their corporate office in Atwood, completed in 2022. The project included extensive remodeling of the interior and exterior of their corporate offices located at 521 N. Illinois Street.

According to President Fleming, in the fall of 2021, the Village of Atwood adopted procedures and an application process for the TIF District in the village limits. Basically, the TIF districts encompasses properties in the village limits including properties along Rt. 36 as well as properties from Rt. 36 to North Magnolia and west to Harris Companies and the former A-H High School property.

The purpose of the TIF district is to encourage non-residential property owners to perform projects to rehabilitate, reconstruction, repair or remodel to their buildings to the level that it would increase the value of their property. Watch for more information on the TIF in the near future.

President Fleming stated that one of the park grants has been approved in the amount of $15,000. This will cover half the cost of approximately 2 ½ acres the village wants to purchase and expand the west side of the park. The total cost of the land will be $30,000. The village has also applied for another grant in the amount of $290,000 to help develop the land. The board would like to add a new park building, new parking area, new T-ball field area and another new parking area. They are waiting to hear about this grant.

Ordinance violations have been mailed to the former meat locker, Kel’s Place, two individual homes on Orchard Street and Iowa. The village board has been working hard to clean up several places in town that are non-compliant to the ordinances.

They will keep on these people until they have complied.

Fleming told the board the intergovernmental agreement with Arrow Ambulance is about to expire. Actually, the agreement expired a year ago, but they agreed to keep things the same because of ongoing discussion with Arcola and Arthur they thought might impact Atwood. Fleming talked with Larry Sapp from Arrow and they are interested in a 5-year extension with Atwood. They proposed a 15% up-front increase that would lock in the fee for years 1-3, then an adjustable increase in years 4 & 5 to the Consumer Price Index, but capped at 5% each year.

Drew Hoel, Tuscola City Administrator, sent the extension to Atwood and stated that given the rate of inflation, fuel prices, and the price for ambulance service in nearby jurisdictions, he feels like this is an attractive offer. He said that Arrow has not increased their fee since 2010.

The Atwood board passed a motion to agree to the extension. Current rate was $3,669 and the proposed rate $4,219.

The audit for FY2022 was passed. Kevin Huffman of McGuire, Yuhas, Huffman and Buckley, was in attendance to discuss the audit. Huffman discussed several areas of the audit, but was overall pleased with the outcome.

Additional information included:

1. Board passed a motion to approve the TIF application from the Village of Atwood for the boring of conduit under Main Street at a cost of $9,128.

2. A motion was passed approving the TIF application from the Village of Atwood for the electrical conduit for Main Street at a cost of $2,490.

3. A motion was passed approving the TIF application from the Village of Atwood for the cutting down of trees on Main Street at a cost of $3,900.

4. The board passed a motion to approve the transfer of funds from the renter liability account.

5. Another motion was passed to approve the funding for the Sesquicentennial mural in the amount of $1,700. The mural will be paid for by the village, Atwood Chamber, AEDC and Sesquicentennial committee.

6. The board passed a motion to send a mass mailing to residents in the 61913-zip code regarding the beautification project, including pictures. This cost will be $140. This will give everyone an idea what the board is doing to improve the downtown area.

7. The board discussed what type of trees that would be best for the downtown area. The motion was tabled until more information can be obtained.

8. Expenditures totaling $59,653.89 were approved by the board.

Chris Stoltz, Police Chair, said that Chief Rob Bross has completed his required training for the year. Bross said the state mandated a lot of extra stuff this year but did not have the classes set up. Bross stated, “Luckily, our local training center came through and set up a lot of these required classes. I am certified to teach the medical portion of the training. A few of us got together last week and figured officers will have between 1-2 weeks of training each year We are looking at trying to get a few online courses completed.”

Bross also stated in his report, “Good News: The school did an outstanding job on their relocation drill. This was the first time the students went to a relocation area. The school was evacuated in a minute and all students and staff were in the relocation church in about 5 minutes. This is unheard of. Out of all the emergency drills I have been a part of, this was the best coordinated.”

Trustee Diane Eagan, Chairman of the Civic Support and Public Communication, told the board the Atwood Chamber of Commerce is planning a new Christmas event entitled “Christmas Dreamland At-the-Woods” to be held from 6-8 p.m. on December 5, 6, 8, 9 and 9-12 a.m. on Saturday, December 10. The village board gave their permission for this event to be held at the former Kirby Building. Construction on the building will not begin until after the first of the year. Additional information on this Christmas event will appear in the future.

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